Incorporating movement when developing social and emotional skills enhances the connections made in the brain...
What is Gymnastics?
Gymnastics has been said to be to sport what the alphabet is to reading. It provides the building blocks for almost every other sport a child might go on to pursue.
Body and spatial awareness, balance, gross and fine motor skills, crossing the midline, bilateral coordination and integration, planning, sequencing, sensory integration, flexibility, safe landing and injury prevention, confidence, self- esteem, discipline and rhythm are just a few of these foundational skills gymnastics develops. The sport itself is most commonly apparatus based using that such as beams, bars, floor, vault, rings, trampoline, ribbons, hoops and balls. In KinderGym, apparatus also used include things like large soft shapes, ladders, swings, crash mats and slides. The sport is both individual and team based with structure and routine.
“Gymnastics has so much to benefit children and those with disability in a way I think people don’t realise” (Parent of a child with a disability)
Combining Social Skill Development and Gymnastics
Gymnastics is a great way to engage kids in an environment that is non-clinical, occupation-based, group-oriented, with structure, creativity and fun.
"Physical activity or moving, positively affects the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory and strengthens the connections between nerves in the brain"
The evidence says that gymnastics can contribute to physical skill acquisition through control and dexterity of movement, along with personal, emotional and social development (Carroll & Hannay, 2012: 2 cited in Murphy & Carbone, 2008). A 2008 study by Murphy & Carbone found that parents of children with a disability attending a gymnastics class noticed the positive impact it was having on their child’s confidence, self-esteem and social development. One parent stated she “noticed changes in her son’s confidence, his balance, his listening skills and working with others”. The parent reported her child “mixes more with his peers - engages with them and talks and laughs more”. The parent also noted she felt this positive change would assist her child in preparing for school, working with others and following instructions.
So, when we want to develop new skills and learning in kids, combining it with physical activity is key. Incorporating movement when developing social and emotional skills enhances the connections that are made in the brain. That’s why at Talk ’n Tumble, your child will talk AND tumble!
Reference: Murphy, N. A. & Carbone, P. S. (2008) ‘Promoting the participation of children with disabilities in sports, recreation, and physical activities’, Paediatrics, Vol. 121, Issue 5, pp. 1057-1061.
"Children learn cognitive skills more effectively in an environment that includes the body as well as the mind"
Generally speaking, exercise has been proven to be the number one thing we can do for our brains. In Gymnastics, whether a child is running, skipping, jumping, hoping, swinging, turning, leaping or hanging, they are moving their bodies almost all the time. Physical activity or moving, positively affects the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory and strengthens the connections between nerves in the brain. Studies show that children learn cognitive skills more effectively in an environment that includes the body as well as the mind (Barrett, 1998). Recreational participation can ‘reduce behavioural and emotional disorders, help develop social relationships and friendship, improve physical and mental health, and help children develop their interests’ (Potvin, Prelock and Snider, 2008: 366 cited in Murphy & Carbone, 2008).